What Makes College Different From High School?

So you got excellent grades in high school, but your first grades in college aren’t quite as excellent? You aren’t alone. Most students experience a dramatic wake up when their college grades are significantly lower than what they were in high school. A lot of this comes down to fundamental cultural differences and disparities that separate the educational process in high school and college.

The amount of time you spend in the classroom is a big one.

  • In high school, you spent thirty or more hours in class every week.
  • In college, a full course load might require you to spend only fifteen to eighteen hours in the classroom.

Your professors will be damned if you can’t learn more in college than you did in high school, so they press you harder outside of class. Your papers must be longer, your assignments have more depth, and with the shorter amount of time in the classroom, the professor expects you to read to cover material not covered in the class sessions.

Here are a few tips to make coping with the extra pressure easier:

Learn the syllabus

During the first couple of days that you have it, you need to study it, because the syllabus represents a contract between the professor as a representative of the school that is receiving money on your behalf for the purpose of educating you and you the student. Expect to cover all of the material on the syllabus in the class and know how much time you between all of your tests and projects.

Hit it hard

When the semester starts you start. Don’t wait until finals week to start working and studying. Study what you need to when you are expected to according to the syllabus and maybe even study ahead of the syllabus. Doing this can save you an unfathomable amount of stress when finals come up and you already know the material in a thorough manner.

Be an individual

Let your professors know who you are. They may be teaching hundreds or thousands of students every semester and they might not be trying to attach names to faces for the purpose of keeping their sanity. Learn to work with them early and show a genuine interest in what they are teaching you. This is a lot easier to do a smaller college as opposed to a larger university, but if you bear down and work ahead of the class, they will notice you eventually.

Leave a Comment